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Despite eye-popping comparisons, Kyle Sloter doesn't appear to have won over Vance Joseph

Zac Stevens Avatar
September 1, 2017

DENVER — Ten months ago, Kyle Sloter was the signal caller of a 6-5 University of Northern Colorado football team. Playing in the Big Sky Conference, Sloter was planning his future, not in football, let alone in the NFL, but as a financial planner.

Thursday night, Sloter was the starting quarterback of the professional football team just 60 miles South of his college. Donned in Orange & Blue, the 23-year old capped off a preseason that hasn’t been seen in Denver in quite some time from the quarterback position.

Entering the night, Sloter was the third quarterback on the depth chart, behind starter Trevor Siemian and second-string Paxton Lynch, but due to a sprained shoulder to Lynch’s throwing arm, Sloter received his first start as an NFL player.

Four quarters later, the undrafted rookie’s stat line looked more like the stat line of a seasoned veteran: 15-for-23 for 220 yards, one touchdown and a 110.8 passer rating against the Arizona Cardinals.

But Thursday’s stat line actually brought down Sloter’s entire preseason line. Entering the preseason finale, Sloter had a 140.2 passer rating on 80 percent completions with two touchdowns and no interceptions with 193 passing yards—eye-popping numbers.

Although he was running with, and against, the third-team for much of the preseason, Sloter’s numbers for the four-game stretch blew away similar stretches by his fellow quarterbacks in similar situations, eventually going 31-43 for 413 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Good enough for a 125.4 rating.

In 2015, Siemian’s rookie season, he finished the preseason 23-for-40 for 283 yards with two touchdowns and one interception for an 85.7 passer rating in three appearances.

In 2016, during Lynch’s rookie preseason, he went 40-for-68 for 458 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions for an 86.5 passer rating in four appearances with one start.

While that’s the most fair comparison, as it was all their first season in the league, the NFL could care less about fairness.

With all the numbers backing the Cinderella story, not just on the night but in the past month, they weren’t enough to change head coach Vance Joseph’s mind about the quarterback’s standing.

“Our depth chart has not changed when it comes to the quarterback position,” he said matter-of-factly after the game.

Even with his impressive line on the night, Sloter certainly had areas where he could improve. In the team’s first four drives they complied 12 total offensive yards with a lone first down including two drives ending in negative yardage. The first drive ended with a safety after Sloter held onto the ball too long and the fourth ended in a sack on Denver’s own 1-yard line, just avoiding another safety.

However, Sloter’s luck changed during the fifth drive, starting at his own 2. After a pair of back-to-back 32-yard completions, Sloter marched the Broncos’ offense 98 yards into the end zone, starting what would be a great end to his preseason.

When asked if Sloter did enough to be the Broncos’ backup quarterback for the regular season—while Lynch recovers—Joseph said, “We will see. Those calls are going to happen tomorrow. Tomorrow and Saturday, I should say.”

“He’s played very well. He had a slow start tonight with the safety and taking he sack backed up,” Joseph said. “He came out of it and had three 80-yard scoring drives. He’s been impressive. He’s a young, poised quarterback. He’s very, very intelligent. I’ve been impressed with Kyle.”

The first milestone for Sloter will be making Denver’s 53-man roster, which has to be decided by 2:00 pm on Saturday. Then, Sloter can continue to fight the odds and the other quarterbacks on the roster to climb the depth chart.

However, and whenever, Sloter’s run with the Broncos ends, to say he’s impressed, and won over a significant chunk of Broncos Country, would be an understatement.

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